Blackfoot Cave

Designated: April 14, 2015
Location: Cherry Valley
Current Owner:   Board of County Commissioners
Nominated By: Reid Farmer and Mary Ann Gabriel

Prehistoric Significance

There is evidence that prehistoric people occupied the cave and surrounding area from 10,000 years before present (BP) through 1540 AD.  Evidence also shows that the cave and surrounding area was occupied by modern tribes from the 1540s through the 1840s.  European contact occurred as early as the 1540s by the Spanish Conquistadors in the North American Continent.

The cave is also associated with a trail that became known as the Cherokee Trail in the mid-1800s.  It is likely that portions of the route were used by prehistoric peoples and modern tribes long before European contact.  The Cherokee Trail was an overland route that started in Salina, Kansas, and provided connections for those traveling north to the Oregon Trail, or the Santa Fe Trail to the south.  Diaries written in the mid-1800s document travelers using the cave for shelter, where they stopped to rest along the way.  The route was known as the Jimmy Camp Trail and Cherokee Trail in the mid-1800s by immigrants traveling to California during the 1849 Gold Rush.

To view artifacts that were excavated from the site, please visit the Douglas County Virtual History Museum:

BFC Archaic projectile points BFC ceramics BFC ground stone BFC Late Prehistoric projectile points BFC musket ball BFC paleoindian projectile points BFC trade beads